I have often written multiple books at the same time. It’s a part of life when one of your hats is professional writer. But it can also be a real part of the writing journey when you’re getting started writing. The challenge is learning how to juggle the multiple characters, plots, and timelines. Here are a few tips I’ve developed over the years to let me do exactly that:
Use different music to signal to my brain that I’ve switched times/genres/etc.
Right now I’m writing suspense to an Avengers/movie soundtrack channel I’ve built on Pandora. As soon as it comes on my brain settles down. I use different music for cozy mysteries or WWII historicals. This has worked really well for me over time which is why I listed it first. There’s something about the music that lets my mind know immediately which book to focus on in that moment.
Always stop mid scene so I can easily get back into what I was thinking when I stopped writing.
One way to smooth out this process of transitioning from book to book is to make a few bullet point notes of where I saw the scene heading before I end for the day. That alone saves a lot of time and helps me get started quickly when I start the next day or week or whenever I can come back to the story. It also allows me to end knowing that I know where to begin, alleviating the blank page syndrome.
Edit what I wrote the day before to get back into the story flow.
This is a great way to get right back into the story. It also helps me to let go of the editing details while I’m writing. If I know I’m going to come back the next day and clean up the spelling and grammar issues, it lets me focus on words on the page. It also helps me get immediately back into the story.
Occasionally I will alternate days, but I don’t always have the luxury.
My friend Lenora Worth does something like this consistently. I loved how she put it:
When I’m working on more than one project, I compartmentalize them. I might work on a suspense in the morning and a romance in the afternoon. Or I pick days and stick to that–suspense on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, other things on Tuesday and Thursday. For a while, I wrote novel length books on weekdays and turned to Indie novellas on the weekend. Or I’d work on longer books all day and save one precious hour for other projects at the end of the day.
Research one while writing the other.
This last one works well. I like to let my brain think about one book by writing another. It may be researching an idea, reading background books, locating sources, but it’s a different kind of creative work that writing. It also allows me the break from an intense focus on one book and allows my subconscious to work on the second book. This process works really well for me.
If you’re feeling the pull to work on two books or have multiple deadlines, I hope these tips help you make that process work. Do you have a different way for writing multiple books? I’d love to read about your tips and strategies. Be sure to leave them in the comments below! Thanks for joining the conversation.